In the summer of 2000, X-Men was released. It earned over $296 million worldwide, and it spawned a new trend in cinema for superheroes. Spiderman, Batman and even cult graphic novel The Watchmen were transposed to the silver screen.
Given the nature of comic books and graphic novels, this trend is an obvious one. The comic book format is highly visual, and the storytelling is brief yet action-packed, making it a natural fit for films, which also have limited run times and lots of visual impact.
Still, there are things that comic books can do that movies cannot quite replicate. The languid nature of dreams, the indescribable feelings of a disease and other experiences that are not literal enough to be photographed can be explored in the illustrations of comic books. The images below show just how creative these illustrations can be.
by David B.
This graphic novel explores the effect of epilepsy on David B.’s brother and on himself. It uses experimental, figurative illustrations to show his experiences with the disorder.
by Brian Azzarello and Lee Bermejo
Taking the Batman ethos and turning it on its head, this novel focuses on the Joker. As a result, the illustrations are horrific and graphic.
Scott Pilgrim’s Precious Little Life
by Bryan Lee O’Malley
The Scott Pilgrim series is widely considered the first graphic novel for the video game generation. It combines the aesthetic of both Japanese manga and Western comic books with elements of video games and music videos to create a unique style.
Superman story in Action Comics #1
by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster
This comic contained the first appearance of Superman, the first true superhero in comic books. The style of the illustration was fairly common, but creation of a being that was super-human was anything but.
by Art Spiegelman
Maus tells the story of Jews during the Holocaust by showing mice struggling against ruthless cats. The illustration was highly symbolic and evocative, heightening the emotion of the storytelling.
Jimmy Corrigan: The Smartest Kid on Earth
by Chris Ware
This book is more like a collection of highly designed postcards, with its intricate drawings and stunning landscapes. It tells the story of Jimmy Corrigan with flashbacks, parallel stories and diagrams.
Fold-ins in Mad Magazine created
by Al Jaffee
This series of drawings, which close the influential comic book, make the magazine interactive whilst satirising the emergence of fold-out panorama features in other magazines in the mid-1960s.
Fables: Volume 1: Legends In Exile
by Bill Willingham
Palomar: The Heartbreak Soup Stories
by Gilbert Hernandez
Following the residents of fictional town Palomar, this novel paints a detailed portrait of life in Central America. This can result in surreal images of Frida Kahlo, the devil and a skeleton.
by Craig Thompson
Blankets is an autobiographical tale of two brothers competing with each other as they grown up in snowy Wisconsin. Craig, the main character, often escapes his tedious life by fantasising and drawing, which is shown in the dream-like illustrations.
Tags: books, Comic books, illustrations